Aframax – An oil tanker that has a deadweight between 80,000 and 120,000 metric tonnes. 

Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) vessels – Specialist tugs that move oil rigs.

API – Application Programming Interface

Ballast Voyage – A voyage carrying no cargo, used to position ships for docking or loading.

Bareboat Charter – A process in which a vessel is leased or hired to another company (the charterer). The charterer is responsible for paying operating costs and providing stores, bunkers and crew.

Bulk Cargo – Cargo that is transported unpackaged and in large quantities, such as coal, grain or oil.

Bunkers – Fuel used in ships. 

Cabotage – The transport of goods between two locations within the same country.

Capesize – Vessels that are too large to pass through the Panama and Suez Canals so must pass either Cape Agulhas or Cape Horn instead.

Carbon Offsetting – Reducing or removing carbon dioxide emissions or other greenhouse gases in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.

CGT – Compensated gross tonnage

Charterer – A person, company or organisation that rents a ship. 

Charter Party – A contract or deed between a ship owner and a charterer.

CIF – Cost, insurance and freight

Clean Oil – A refined oil product (e.g. naphtha). 

CoA – Contract of Affreightment 

Combination Carrier – A vessel that may carry either wet or dry bulk cargo (also known as an ore-bulk-oil carrier or OBO).

Condensate – A very light oil that can be shipped in tankers. 

Conditional Capital Increases – A form of capital authorisation that gives the Board of Directors the ability to issue equity-linked instruments, such as convertible bonds, and grant conversion or option rights that trigger the issuance of new shares upon exercise or conversion. 

Crude Oil – Unrefined petroleum.

Daily Operating Costs – Costs involved in the daily operation, maintenance, crewing and insurance of a vessel (excluding financing costs). 

Debt-to-Equity Swaps – A transaction in which the obligations or debts of a company or individual are exchanged for equity.

Demurrage – Money payable to the owner of a ship if a charterer, shipper or receiver fails to load or discharge the vessel within the time specified by the charter party.

Dirty Oil – A less refined oil product (e.g. fuel oil).

Dry (Market) – Refers to the bulk market. 

Dry Cargo Carrier – A vessel transporting general cargo. Occasionally transports bulk cargo. 

Dry Docking – Moving a ship into a dry dock so it can be inspected, maintained and/or repaired.

DWT – Deadweight Ton

Emissions Trading System – Market-based instruments that create cost-saving incentives to reduce emissions.

Environmental Impact – The direct effect of an activity or event on the environment based on the emissions created or resources used.

ESG – Environmental, social and corporate governance. Evaluating how a corporation works to achieve social goals that extend beyond maximising profits on behalf of shareholders.

Feeder – A vessel under 2,500 TEU used to transport containers from ports to central terminals or transshipment hubs.

Freight Intelligence / Freight Market Intelligence – Applying historical and real-time data to create meaningful and actionable insights. 

FOB – Free On Board. The seller of goods is responsible for costs up to port of loading, after which freight is paid for by the buyer. 

Forward Freight Agreements (FFA) – A financial forward contract (SWAP) that gives the contract owner the right to buy and sell the price of freight for future dates, allowing shipowners, charterers and speculators to hedge against the volatility of freight rates.

FOSVA – Forward Ship Value Agreement. Designed for the purchase and sale market. 

Freight Rate – The agreed price for the delivery of cargo from one point to another, expressed as a lump sum or per tonne of cargo. 

Futures Contract – An agreement based on the delivery of an underlying asset at a future date.

Handymax – Larger bulk carriers in the Handysize class that have the ability to fit different cargoes in their multiple holds (40,000-50,000 DWT).

IMO – International Maritime Organisation

IPO – Initial Public Offering

ISM Code – International Safety Management code. Governs pollution prevention and the safe operation of ships. 

Liquidity Crunch – A period during which cash or easily-convertible-to-cash assets are in short supply and demand is high.

LGC – Large Gas Carrier

LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas 

LPG – Liquefied Petroleum Gas

LTV – Loan-To-Value Ratio

M&A – Mergers and Acquisitions 

MOA – Memorandum of Agreement

Net-Zero Emissions Policy – A policy in which any greenhouse gases that are released due to a company or project’s actions are offset by removing an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to permanently store in soil, plants or materials.

Oil Tanker – A vessel designed to carry crude or refined oil products in bulk.

OSV – Offshore Support Vessel

Panamax Vessels – Ships that have been designed to navigate the original dimensions of the Panama Canal, including the smallest of its locks. 

Parcel Tanker – A ship designed to simultaneously carry several types of cargo. 

Post Fixture – Operational and financial administration of a ship during its voyage. 

Product Tanker – A ship that carries refined oil, often to areas without the facilities to refine crude oil.

PSV – Platform Supply Vessel

Rate Floor – A chartering rate that cannot be further reduced.

Reefer – A refrigerated vessel designed to carry cargo such as fish, meat and fruit. 

Ro-Ro – Roll-on roll-off; describes ships that vehicles can drive onto and off of. 

Shipbroker – A company or individual who negotiates deals and prices for transportation of cargo on behalf of a shipper or ship owner. May also act on behalf of shipping companies to negotiate the purchase and/or sale of ships.

Shuttle Tanker – A vessel that transports oil to terminals from offshore fields. 

S&P – Sales & Purchase

Spot Deal / Spot-Driven Market – A one-off voyage from A to B. Spot-driven markets are dominated by one-off deals rather than longer-term arrangements.

Suezmax – A class of medium-sized oil tanker that can transit the Suez Canal in a laden condition (120,000-160,000 DWT).

TEU – Twenty-foot Equivalent Units

Time Charter – A contract taken out for the cargo space of a manned ship during a specific period of time.

Time Charter Equivalent – Gross freight income minus voyage costs (port, canal and bunker charges).

Ton/Tonne – Imperial/metric ton(ne) is 2,240 lbs/1,000 kilos. 

Twin-Track M&A Process – A process in which a company that is conducting an Initial Public Offering is also pursuing a potential M&A exit.

VLCC – Very Large Crude Carrier (280,000-360,000 DWT)

Voyage Charter – Cargo transportation from port of loading to port of discharge. Payment is usually per tonne of cargo; ship owner is responsible for port, canal and bunker costs. 

Voyage Costs – The financial costs of a specific voyage (e.g. port, canal and bunker charges).

Wet (Market) – Refers to the tanker market.  

Worldscale – International freight index for tankers.


For a comprehensive guide to shipping terms, visit the Baltic Exchange Glossary.